The Froge Anniversary 2: The Fourth One
Here it is, at long last, a monument to my persistence and achievements in mediocrity. It has been four years since I first published on Neocities on 2016-05-20, exactly one year since launching Frogesay, and exactly three years since my last retrospective on Kratzen. “The Froge Anniversary”. It would be the only anniversary. Bizarrely, coincidentally, I would be on protracted breakdowns for my other anniversaries, letting them pass by as if they were nothing, ruining my personaly chronology and further damaging any sense of consistency I have erected for myself and the projects you see curated at Degenerates. It is only at this time, located at this space, that I have been sane and stable enough to keep a website afloat for the many months that I have for Frogesay. I have reduced my rate of publication, but I have been publishing nonetheless. And in doing so, I am filled with a foreign emotion: pride.
I must make candid my troubles with my mind. I do not suffer from mental illness; if I did, it would put into perspective the past few years, and I would better understand myself. I did not suffer from any condition or formal diagnoses that could be treated in some medical way. My troubles with myself are the simple self-hating thoughts, neurotic outbursts, and omnipresent ennui that is endemic to any intellectual who realises the worthlessness of their own existence. I have not been suicidal ― merely nihilisitic. And though there were months-long periods of time where I was happy to realise the futility, the insignificance, of my personal world bathed in arrogance and derangement, I have come to terms with my plans to live for an exceptionally long time by taking the unusual steps of caring for my body and mind. In doing so, the future brings me great anticipation, but it also gives me great fear. My projects will be meaningless, but I will have made them. My writings will continue to be ignored. I will be nobody, the same as I am. The greatest pain of an artist is not in being hated. It’s in being ignored.
My work is not even worth hating anymore. A retrospective on my past creations would be typical: I hate them. Sure, there are moments of genuine comedy, genuine insight, and all-around genuinity, but let’s face it. I was younger, I was dumber, and I didn’t know how to write worth a damn. Froghand is my first work, and also my worst work. The prose is genuinely terrible and I did not know how to construct a sentence that wasn’t cracking wise or pretentiously speaking on the human condition. And I still crack wise and act pretentious, but I’d like to think I’m better at it now. I don’t understand how anyone parsed through my awful jokes to get to the security advice within (couldn’t you read PrivacyTools instead?), and I don’t even understand if anything I wrote about is accurate anymore. I hope, I dearly hope, that I was not wrong about anything there, and if I was, that it wasn’t important, and that if it was, the person learned differently from other sources. Such is the danger of the amateur. You may have good intentions and well-sourced information, but sources are all you have, and if they’re wrong, then so are you, and so will be anyone you teach.
Froghand ceased to be a blog on Web security and privacy. I got tired of it. The website is still separated into pre-Sec and post-Sec. My first creation post-sec is “The Industrial Steamworks”, which I haven’t read in bloody ages but is allegedly one of my best works. It’s a teardown of VALVe® as a company and all the dirty business tricks and psychological techniques they’ve used to assert their dominance and subsequently ruin our gaming industry. It’s probably pretentious, but is it pretentious for a noble cause? There was then further reviews and arbitrary complaints, and they’re statistically bullshit because of my past crimes against grammar and prose (and the syntax… merciful Christ, the atrocious HTML syntax). I did an episode-by-episode review of Bojack Horseman because Mr. Enter called it one of his favourite cartoons. I didn’t like it, although I was stupid back in the day, so what do I know? And I like to joke how I wrote a 8,000 word review about Spongebob Squarepants: The Movie: The Game, which I damn well did. And why? Well, I wrote 8,000 words about Dark Souls recently, so spewing random words about bullshit nobody cares about is my artistic raison d’être.
Then came the 10kB Gallery, on 2017-02-01. Holy shit, is that ever popular. I spent two months on that project, it’s earned 150,000 views despite that short period of time, and it still gains a follower every week who ignores that it hasn’t been updated since 2017-04-03. The gimmick is that every piece within was stolen artwork badly-compressed into ten kilobytes or less. You people like it. And, alright, I’m the artist of this original pirate material. I’m supposed to hate my old work. I graciously admit that a lot of the pieces on there are… actually pretty good. Especially the simple ones, like Hydra Bay, or the ones I worked bloody well hard on, like Tikal. And a lot of the artists I featured on there are still amazing talents ― especially those Tyson Tan pieces. But you still look back on this crap, you look at the weird, ridiculous, incredibly silly and vulgar blog posts underneath the work, and it’s like… what the hell? Who is Froge? Why is he? How? Perhaps “what the hell” is the point. Maybe my whole life is just one linear sequence of “what the hell”.
I can’t believe my first upload was a deer showing her bum. You people put up with this shit! I’m a furry! I’m a weeaboo! You should shame me for my weirdness! Maybe that’s the appeal. Only someone as uniquely autistic as I am could create such a project. And, fuck, I like it. I’m getting feelings for it again, because I’m looking back on work I did that wasn’t inherently stupid. The writing, sure, let’s say the writing is stupid. Is the art stupid? Am I stupid? What does it matter? Nothing great was ever created without the idiocy endemic to arrogance: the arrogance of a creative type who knows that only they can make what they make. I’m that type. I make what I make. And 10kB is fine. And if you think it’s better than fine, or even good, then good for you. I still toy from time to time with the idea of reviving it, uploading some new works in appreciation of new artists. But then, what’s the point? What’s past is past, what’s now is now, and if what’s past is better than now, then I might as well pack up for new pastures, because I refuse to stagnate with my best works behind me, and I will again be an idiot until I make further greatness.
Here’s an interesting sidenote about Degenerates, also made on 2017-02-01, which is the landing page which links all my projects. Why is it called Degenerates? Why is it just a random linked page? Why is it called a “personal brand”? The story has to do with my original ambitions for Degenerates. It was to be a free culture art collective gathering together artists who would upload artwork licensed under public domain or permissive licenses. Your ranking would increase based on how permissive your licenses were; you can view a snapshot of the contrived and bureaucratic system in action ― a gravestone of my childlike, idealistic self. There was nothing to sell and nothing to gain other than some satisfaction that I had like-minded people around me fighting the good fight against copyright and censorship. I roped two gracious people into the collective, but they were always token positions. Every other artist I invited either ignored me or found the structure to be creepy. To be fair, it was creepy, and the prose was more akin to an exclusive honours club than anything inviting, which did not engender itself to the hugbox furry community I naïvely call my home.
This all came to a head when some pornographic My Little Pony artist made a callout post about Degenerates, in which I was called a Jim Jones wannabe and the leader of a cult, all while complaining that I wanted artists to give up the copyright to their works… which was the point of the project. There was no cult, I had no influence, and there was a notable lack of Flavor Aid suicides. The post got around 1,500 notes, and being a whiny little bitch at the time, I took it hard for about three days, then continued working on 10kB while cracking jokes about it. But it hurt. And it still hurt for weeks afterwards, because it was insulting my values, my ideals, my ambitions, and all the effort I put into gathering people who might agree with my principles, and it was insulting me from a place of ignorance that supposed copyright was an intrinsic good. It was only several months after this ordeal that I abandoned the prospects of Degenerates as a collective and turned it into a landing page for my personal projects. My sloth and mismanagement of the project has shown my failures in managing my work, and my continued mismanagement of Kratzen, and subsequently Frogesay, has shown I have too much to learn.
After two months of running 10kB, and frankly really enjoying myself, I burned out due to the high labour involved in processing the source images into 10kB images. I had also at the time had a large desire in realising my ambitions of getting into games criticism and reviewing in a more tangible manner than I did on Froghand. As a result of these twin snakes of pain and desire, on 2017-04-01, I created Kratzen: an indie games review site which took games from itch.io and publicly shamed slash praised them. The joke is that “kratzen” is German for “itch”, which was a spot of linguisitic. The further joke is that it was styled after a pulp magazine with grainy, greyscale pictures and a symmetrical justified typography. I even made the emoji into greyscale! Froge trivia: previously I used “Linux Libertine Display O” as Kratzen’s main typeface due to its inkblot effect and imperfections at large sizes. When I added font files to all my websites four months ago instead of telling my readers to download the fonts themselves, I switched to plain old “Linux Libertine” because I didn’t understand what, exactly, the “Display O” part stood for. Is it fair to change such a large part of history by rewriting the font? Honestly, no. But technical nuances triumph over idealism, and the only main difference in appearance is the Kratzen logo looking slightly more “clean” and slightly less “pulpy”. If I want to change back to the original font, I could do so easily, should I learn the consequences of doing so.
I’ve always had mixed feelings about Kratzen. On the one hand, the prose is slightly more formal and less bombastic than that of Froghand and 10kB. I can read my old articles from time to time and get the gist of what they’re about without wanting to make myself blind. On the other hand, the formality is slightly off-putting, as if I was wavering from one extreme to another without truly understanding what my writing was aspiring to be. But that’s not my feelings are mixed. It’s about the concept: it’s reason for being. It’s taking work from independent creators and passing my judgement on them, as if I was scooping them out from a crowd and forcing my own viewpoint on them without demand. I am aware of all the typical retorts and counter-retorts to this behaviour. Logically, I have the right to say whatever the hell I want on published works, even if I find them bad, and even if my opinions aren’t as well-defined as they were before. There are tons of amateur critics writing about fanfiction and webcomics that are atrocious, such as “xkcd sucks” (which is not a terrible comic), Topless Robot’s Fan Fiction Fridays (rest in peace, Topless Robot, you former brilliant nerd site) and the Bad Webcomics Wiki (which unfortunately suffers from centrist dipshits decrying the spooky scary SJWs). But to sum it all up… I just felt bad.
Continuing on with Fan Fiction Friday, which was a hilarious, Mystery Science Theatre 3000 sort of article series that has mostly been lost to link rot and site redesigns, there is an article on Gizmodo about why they stopped published Fan Fiction Friday when its creator moved to that company. The crux of the argument is that it’s not fun to bully amateur creators for making garbage, even if they have the intellectual right ― nay, the intellectual duty to chastise idiots for making garbage. I unfortunately suffer from those feelings, too. I didn’t want to pick on the little guy even when I am the little guy. I don’t want to call people terrible artists even my work also had terrible aspects. And to do all this while being too lazy to create anything that isn’t related to publishing articles online? Who am I to judge as a mere spectator in the audience, and not as a creator who has some claim to give advice as equals with the developers who make what I criticise? Am I truly contributing anything to the arts by taking mediocre work, applying my occasional epic rant, and heralding what I like personally as great art while similarly decrying what I personally hate, all to demand people conform to what personally like, and to no other worldview? Am I such an arrogant prick?
But then all these justifications for my cowardice is just bullying myself. The reality is such: it is more noble to show off work, even work made by amateur neurotic snowflakes such as myself who cannot take criticism, whether polite or ranting, and are bewildered when they receive it, than it is to let bad work stay bad and to be polite and thus cruel in lying to an artist by telling them their work is flawless when it isn’t. It doesn’t matter if the work is made by one anonymous dipshit, two anonymous dipshits, or a whole crack team of anonymous dipshits just trying to find a grind to get paid and incidentally make a game they think is good. And it doesn’t matter if I’m just some anonymous dipshit, because the world is full of people like me, and pretending that I don’t exist, pretending that I’m not allowed to have the opinions I have because it might hurt someone’s feelings, is heinous in itself. Hell, just look at all the Steam and Metacritic user reviews posted by anonymous dipshits with incredibly specific worldviews who play a free game made by an independent developer and still feel the need to make some salient points about something that cost them little more than attention. Do you think the average negative Steam review is more thoughtful, more intelligent, and makes better points than my average negative review on Kratzen? Are we not men?
I’m writing long about Kratzen because it’s at the sweet spot of having a lot of content, showcasing my most impassioned feelings, and being recent enough for me to remember what I felt about it. Some of my rants truly were epic, like in Heartbound, where I just went in on those poor developers and ate their fucking asses. There were rants that were more sophisticated, such as in Autonauts Pre-Pre-Pre-Alpha. There was also very positive rants, such as in Ciel Fledge Alpha and Starlit Flowers. Mostly I remember getting into a lot of arguments on itch.io comment pages, especially with the woman who made Butterfly Soup, which inspired a 10,000 word rebuttal about how I was right and she was wrong and nerdy nerdy nerd (for the record, I liked Butterfly Soup). I also got blocked from a few pages for making jokes about cat boobs ― looking at you, Jack and Casie developers. As a result of these culture wars, I stopped posting my reviews in comment sections, stifling my main form of advertising the website. I did meet one SheepishGamer though, who has been a friend and collaborator despite my ocassional bouts of idealistic idiocy. CONGRATULATIONS ON GETTING INTO THE ANNIVERSARY. YES I KNOW YOU’RE READING THIS.
So when I look back on Kratzen, I do understand my feelings on it. I understand the bad feelings of having to justify my opinion, and I understand the good feelings of having my opinions heard. The amount of work I’ve created for Kratzen was astounding, and it’s only now being unearthed by the amount of work I’m creating for Frogesay. I got to fulfill my fantasies of being a games critic, I got to drop some legitimate critical knowledge on my lovely fans who I take the piss out of far too often and yes I am sorry for that please don’t confuse my sarcasm for legitimate disdain, and despite all my rage, I still enjoy looking back on these nostalgic works of art I created, and I hope to find peace in having created them. There were indeed months-long breaks between updates. There was an epic neurotic breakdown between 2018-04 and 2018-08, culminating in yet another breakdown from 2018-08 to 2019-05.
Now, I talked about mental health, and I talked about my neuroticism. It has taken me months, and months, and months, and months in order to begin to understand my personal view of the world and how I relate myself in it. It has taken me many long, circular talks with my closest friend, unnamed, endlessly caring and kind, to get me to the point where I can discuss my mental problems in a frank manner without me being so damn confused all the time. The first time I seriously talked about these in public was in my Hangover “The Mediocre State of my Mediocre Works”. It’s an honest appraisal of what I was going through back then, and what I still have to suppress on a constant basis in order to live my daily life without having my constant criticisms overtake me. They were happy to see my newfound honestly in talking about my shitty derangements. If it was not for this friend, this paragon of patience, who has no right to stay around or talk to someone as bizarre and ridiculous as I am, then I do not know if I would be the same person I am today, and that is a harrowing thought, because I do not want to go through what I went through all those periods of hatred and dyspheria. As a member of the herd, I can finally say without irony that friendship is magic after all.
As trite as it is to look through someone’s artwork to find evidence of their mental issues, aren’t my writings just the prolonged maturation of someone who just wants to find out why he’s bothering to live in this world? You have the childhood of Froghand, the adolescence of 10kB, the wandering soul in Kratzen, and the death of the former self in Frogesay. And that takes us to Frogesay… and my one year of writing on it. But does it really take us here? Really really? Is it fair to comment on something that’s still a work in progress, that I’ve only had two mental breakdowns over, that doesn’t have any set goal or theme, and which merely exists as a means for me to pretend I’m doing something valuable in my life instead of merely existing as an energy-inefficient meat sack? It is what it is, all in front of you. If you which to know what Frogesay is about, know it is about nothing, and read through the Hangovers to tell you how little it’s about.
But that’s not fair, is it? Frogesay was created as an act of nostalgia: to hearken back to the good old days of Froghand where I had no idea what the hell I was doing and could throw up any random garbage I felt like. I succeeded, and today I throw up any random garbage I feel like. The name is a spoof of the cowsay Linux program, as I am the one who is saying. The ghost slug favicon was just something I whipped up; I kept it around because, come on, it’s charming innit? The layout colours is inspired by Kratzen, all the articles being dumped on the home page is inspired by Froghand, and the IBM Plex typeface is used to distinguish it from my other projects. The Hangovers is an evolution of the two-paragraph “Big Ups and Fuck Yous” daily section of Froghand, where I raved about something I liked, I ranted about something I hate, and now I’ve evolved into making mini-articles each day about things I rant and-or rave about every four days. Why is this particular Hangover so damn long? Because it’s nice to break the rules once in a while, to do something out of the ordinary, and to dump a massive Hangover in the May 2020 section despite knowing I’m abusing the spirit of the format.
There was a period from 2019-06 to 2019-10, with brief exception, where I stopped writing for Frogesay. Like most of my personal periods of non-competence, this resulted from my half-assed effort to create a large personal project: in this case, a novel. I’ve attempted to write a novel perhaps half a dozen times now, but they have never come to fruition as a result of my failures in getting past the constant doubts and criticisms I run through in my head. The unconscious competency I exhibit when writing for Frogesay only comes from the knowledge that I’m not taking this blogging shit seriously; there’s no agents to court or financial payoff at the end of my literary journey. Even then, I’ve had to develop this skill over time. My constant, months-long breaks on Kratzen was a result of my procrastination and failure to accept that, no matter what I published, it was always. George Lucas says that movies are never finished; they’re only abandoned. The same for my works, my bastions of arrogant thought, which are never truly finished. They are one artistic output out of the dozens of outputs that could have been written under the circumstances of their creation. Perfection is not an ideal; it’s a liability. Imperfection, if we desire publication, is ideal.
An imperfect mind, an imperfect persona, and an imperfect creation. All of these are on display for you. All of these are archived for you to pore through and understand that I, too, am merely a human being, with its imperfect personality evident. If I were dishonest I would delete them forever and pretend they never existed, for though I have spent thousands of hours on their creation, time invested is never a guarantee of dividends. It has always been more important for me to remove artifacts of my past than it is to keep them around and nostalgically think back to times when I was a worse human being, grateful that I am for fooling myself that I’m better now, only to repeat the cycle at some arbitrary year in the future, realising I’m still the same. It is only as evidence of who I once was that I maintain these disparate websites. If you find use from them, that is your pain. If you find joy in them, that is your pleasure. They are no longer my pain or my pleasure. They are artifacts. Things that once were, now irrelevant, and yet still are.
The past four years have brought me simultaneous amounts of stability and instability, brought on at arbitrary times, expressed badly through sarcastic cant. The brief bliss I feel from fooling myself into thinking I matter is smothered by the shadowing horror of realising I will hate everything I will ever create, knowing they were only holding patterns as a means to stave off my episodes of temporary insanity. I will continue on this path, partly out of desperation and partly out of lack of available options, and I hope that whatever meagre creations congregate around me will offer some temporary relief from the boredom of our respective lives.
Life without knowledge is death in disguise. Do not die before your chance to live.
Today’s NEW Article:
Walker Review: Zero Stars ―
A movie in the Criterion Collection that’s as bad as Freddy Got Fingered. ☞
May Hangovers ―
It’s been one year since Frogesay launched! We learned nothing. ☞
April Hangovers ―
Featuring not only the Weed Day, but the Weed Month! Also plague. ☞
March Hangovers ―
April showers bring May flowers. But it’s March, so it doesn’t matter. ☞
February Hangovers ―
Celebrating the numerically meaningless milestone of 2020-02! ☞
January Hangovers ―
Now that we’re in Blade Runner times, I get to upload my opinions on the Information Superhighway. ☞
December Hangovers ―
I have finally received the greatest gift I can ask for: infinite rage. ☞
November Hangovers ―
It’s like bootleg winter but with less cheer and more crotchety old veterans. ☞
October Hangovers ―
Ignore the previous comment. I’m not done, after all. Not yet! ☞
September Hangovers ―
I am back, I am SO back, and I already feel done with it. ☞
July Hangovers ―
It’s the seventh lucky month, and it’s hot, hot, hot! Just like yours truly, of course. ☞
May Hangovers ―
Feeling a little too alive? Let the tide of Spring whisk you away into your grave. ☞
All my other crap:
Shazam! Review: One Star ―
Another movie in the DC Cinematic Universe ― oh, it’s dead now. ☞
A Beautiful Mind Review: Two Stars ―
Am I disabled enough for this movie, or do I need to bring out the hammer? ☞
Green Book Review: Three Stars ―
It’s more about black and white than it is green. ☞
Apollo 11 Review: Four Stars ―
The movie, not the spaceship. The spaceship was pretty good, too. ☞
Dark Souls: I Don’t Like It ―
The Dark Souls of reviews about Dark Souls. ☞
Angery About Copyright ―
Someone is WRONG on the Internet, and so I must destroy them. ☞
What Doth Stars Mean? 2? ―
My old reviewing system was bad. I’m replacing it with a new one I’ll never use. ☞
There sure is! Here I talk about how to do that. If you want to. That is. ☞
Fuck Kotaku ―
Fuck Kotaku. ☞
Illegal Streaming: Good For The Soul! ―
Pirates are doing good things for the Internet. You should support them. ☞
Lemon Demon ― Spirit Phone ALBUM REVIEW ―
In which I parody Anthony Fantano and have a little crisis over meme music. ☞
The 2019 Frogesay Still Arbitrary Game Awards! ―
Wanna hear my opinions on 29 different video games? Wanna hear them again? ☞
The 2019 Solstice Recollection! ―
It’s time to brush off the sins of my past through a simple Solstice cleansing. ☞
Froge’s Dissertation on Criticism ―
A long article about my philosophy on being a critic. No, it’s not funny. ☞
Your Violent, Paranoid Delusions will get you Killed ―
Let’s talk about self-defence, and why what you know about it is WRONG. ☞
Hearthstone Sucks and Blizzard are Cunts ―
A polite and reasoned discussion on Blizzard being malicious twats. ☞
Linux: It That Betrays ―
Something broke on my machine, so that means EVERYONE hates Linux now. ☞
I’m Racist Now ―
I’m sorry to all my fans, but I have to come clean: I’m bisexual — I mean I’m racist. ☞
Halloweeny Musings ―
Featuring the inexorable passage of time. And dread. ☞
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off Review: One Star ―
This is a rather silly movie that I didn’t like very much. ☞
Kotaku Sucks my Fat Froge Nuts ―
They actually have cloacas — oh, never mind. Watch me fuck this low-hanging fruit. ☞
Pixar Censors Boobies and that’s Terrible ―
Once upon a time, there was a plastic doll with large breasts… ☞
Putting to Rest an Uneasy Season ―
I don’t know what I’m doing here, but I might as well keep on doing it. ☞
And Here I Am Again ―
It turns out I didn’t write that novel after all. ☞
And Off I Go Again ―
I’m writing another novel. This means I’m not writing here. Oh, the tragedy! ☞
Short Talks on Bad Fandoms ―
Extensive analysis has determined that, yep, this is cringe, bro. ☞
Shaming the HTTP Zealots ―
You would think people who publish on the Internet would know how the Internet works. ☞
Defending Kiwi Farms and Christchurch ―
That’s it! I’m done with the façade! I’m joining the alt-right, RIGHT NOW! ☞
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World Review: Two Stars ―
That’s a rather long title for a rather short and unremarkable kid’s movie. Which I watched. Somehow. ☞
I Have Come Back to Beg ―
I didn’t end up writing that novel. I’m now writing another one. Yes, I’m serious. ☞
See You Later, Idiots ―
I’m leaving for June. See you in a month! ☞
Froge Finds the Jay Z Song ―
Jay Z makes music. He no longer has to as I found his one and only song. ☞
Fantastic Planet Review: Three Stars ―
The only cartoon to feature dozens of naked ladies while still staying classy. ☞
Alien Review: Four Stars ―
Time to review one of the most beloved science fiction films ever made. ☞
Reddit is a Scourge and must be Purged ―
Froge goes onto the Reddit front page and gets angry at things! He then throws up and cries. ☞
What Does Froge Say? ―
My half-assed “about” page where I explain what has already been explained about my cult. ☞